How to Collect Delinquent Alimony Payments

by Contributor

There are occasions when a former spouse has to take action to collect delinquent alimony payments. Being informed about your rights and the process in your state will help with successful collection. You may need some professional assistance along the way.

Gather all necessary information. You will need your divorce papers that set out the alimony payments, amounts and schedule. You will also need a record of the payments that were made, the dates they arrived and which ones are late.

Find the law in your state that governs alimony payments. Every state is different, though most now have laws designed to protect the person receiving alimony, supported by some advocacy activities to help you. State websites and state bar associations will have the information you need.

Look at your options under the law. For instance, you may be able to file a formal complaint through the state without hiring a lawyer, or you may need to go to court with charges.

Consider mediation. Depending on your relationship with your ex-spouse, you may be unaware of circumstances that are making the payments late. A mediator is often less expensive than a lawyer, and can bring both sides together to find a solution.

Put emotion aside. Unfortunately delinquent alimony payments can raise emotions such as those felt during the separation and divorce. You will have better success and be more effective if you are calm.

Know your rights. If you cannot understand information from the state government, talk to someone in an non-profit advocacy organization. Most communities have a place to call or visit where you can get legal information, and sometimes legal assistance.

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Items you will need

  • Information from your state laws on alimony


  • Many state laws group alimony and child support together under the same legal provisions.
  • If you are using a lawyer, ask for a schedule of fees up front so you know how much the effort will cost.


  • There are some support collection agencies who will act on your behalf. Read all agreements carefully. There will be a fee for this service.

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